No Zen Master Here. #notperfect

Just for the record, I am not perfect. My life is not perfect…

..and what does that mean anyway?!

This social media world definitely makes it easier to perceive peoples lives to be “perfect” because we share mostly the prettiest pictures with positive vibes, but I just want to set the record straight: My life & I are not perfect.

Just in case any of you were wondering.

For instance, a couple mornings ago I was crouched in a fetal position in my kitchen, crying (sobbing), hiding from my twins while my husband did the morning routine. I even stayed in that position to drink some coffee because

I just needed a f-ing break.

Or how about the nights when I flop face first onto my bed with sheer exhaustion the moment my kids go to sleep at 7pm!? Even though I still have things to do. Or mornings, like today, when I get up at 4am to console a crying baby & then try to go back to sleep but I can’t because I’m totally overwhelmed with anxiety, so I just get up!?

See, not perfect.

Sometimes I regret my life choices & think waaaaay too much about what life would be like if I had done things differently. Sometimes I feel like I will never fulfill my potential. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner. Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels…wait, that’s Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lyrics.

Anyway, you get the point.

Even though I post pretty pictures, positive mantras & share my successes, don’t be fooled. I struggle too. We all do. Life can be messy at times but that’s just life, right?!

 

 

Is your life messy? Comment below!

My Birth Story

As my twins approach a year an a half, I decided to return to BIRTHFIT and their Postpartum program to build strength and community. On day 1, coach Embo gave us the assignment to write our birth story, which I had always wanted to do, but never got done. I had shared the story verbally on the BIRTHFIT podcast, but I hadn’t taken the time to write it. So I was grateful for the assignment and here it is…

 

** TRIGGER WARNING**

My Birth Story

I was very intentional when I was picking my options for a wedding day. I chose weekends that were during a waxing moon (between the new and full moon) and no where close to my menstrual cycle. We eventually landed on August 22, 2015.

It was a beautiful morning wedding outdoors overlooking the ocean with a jazz brunch and dance party that followed. The next day we left for our Hawaiian honeymoon where we spent 10 days resting, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

After arriving home, we were in bliss. We both went back to work and things seemed relatively normal except my period never came. We were pregnant. Like, whoa. I had joked to friends that I wanted to get preggers on my honeymoon but I couldn’t believe that it actually happened.

Just like that.

It was two weeks before we saw the doctor and when we went in for our first ultrasound, she asked: “Do you see that?” as she pointed to two ovals on the screen and held up two fingers, like a peace symbol.

“SHUT UP!” I blurted.

“There’s two,” she said. “You’re having twins.”

I was in shock.

Twins!?

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. I just remember my husband Antonio talking about getting a minivan.

Long story short, the pregnancy had it’s ups and downs.

We were encouraged not to tell anyone because there’s always a chance that you might miscarry one or both of your twins. The concept felt counter intuitive but I only told my mom and my friend Corti.

To everyone else, it felt like we were keeping a very big secret and I hated it.

I started to isolate myself. I didn’t want to see friends because I didn’t want to lie. So I just immersed myself in work which eventually took it’s toll on me.

I was working full time for Yoga Journal Magazine & Events while teaching 6am and 6pm classes at YogaWorks. Plus I was teaching weekend yoga classes at the Viceroy Hotel and juggling a handful of private clients.

I was tired. Eventually sharing the pregnancy was a great relief.

On the day of our 30 week check up, Antonio and I were not getting along and I had an anxiety attack. We went to the doctors office and I could hardly hold myself together.

I was told that everything looked “perfect” but before I left, I mentioned to the doctor that I couldn’t feel the babies kicking as much as I was used to. She suggested that we go across the street to the hospital for fetal monitoring and 20 minutes later I was listening to the heart beats of my children.

Little did I know, I was having contractions every five minutes. I just thought it was gas. Hah. I was immediately admitted into the maternity floor for preterm labor and began a series of tests. Results indicated that I was going into labor.

It was a new moon.

Needless to say, delivering at 30 weeks is not ideal. I was put on bed rest (something I was previously against) and given a cocktail of steroids and medicine to stop the contractions and protect the babies. I was still in the hospital a week later when all my friends gathered for my baby shower, without me.

I was able to go home, on bed rest, for another week before my water broke in the middle of the night. I didn’t want to believe it. But I woke up Antonio and we called the hospital for advice. They told us to come in.

It was 2am and a full moon.

My doctor had just delivered a baby so she checked in on us. After sunrise the contractions started swelling. My doctor was not available and I wasn’t allowed to move. I just laid there and let the painful waves of labor wash over me. The nurses kept calling my doctor but she was telling the nurses to wait. When I started to feel the urge to push, a nurse lifted my bed sheet to check me and could tell that our daughter was crowning. Her head was at my cervix.

From there it was a whirlwind. The nurses were scared and the anesthesiologist was downright frenetic. They began to argue with each other in front of me. The nurse kept repeating that the doctor wanted us to wait and the anesthesiologist kept repeating, loudly, “I overrule. I overrule! We need to take her to the O.R. (operating room) NOW!”

“Excuse me,” I finally said. “Can we all just take a deep breath and calm down?”

The room fell silent for a moment, somebody chuckled, and then the chaos ensued. I was wheeled to the operating room, told to roll over and curl into a fetal position, got a shot in my spine, had my sports bra cut off, and it was go time.

So in a room full of masked strangers, I started to push my daughter out into the world. They let me kiss her forehead for the briefest moment before whisking her away to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

I asked Antonio to please go with her.

The doctors started massaging my stomach trying to get our son, who was breached, to flip. But no luck. Alarms starting screeching and my doctor told me his heart rate was dropping so they had to take him out via c-section.

Next thing I knew I was being cut, feeling a hot searing sensation as if the pain medicine hadn’t quite kicked in, I was jerked a little from side to side, and then he was out. They started to take him until a nurse advocated for me and said, “let her see her son!” They held him up briefly at the doorway before leaving.

In a room full of people, I never felt so alone.

My doctor started sewing me up and began discussing her upcoming family vacation with the doctor next to her, as if I wasn’t even present. I remember thinking that I should say something clever but I passed out and woke up behind a curtain in a recovery room alone.

At some point, I was wheeled into the NICU while still in a hospital bed. I’m not sure where Antonio was. I was placed between the two incubators of my twins and I put one hand into each.

The twins each grabbed one of my index fingers, with their teeny tiny little hands, and the nurse named, Hwa, took a picture.

For me, there is something so sweet and so sad about that memory. I can’t help but cry.

In the end, my birth experience definitely was nothing like I had expected or hoped for, but it’s what happened. And I have to say, my children are the greatest gifts in the world. They are healthy, happy, and absolutely hilarious.

Nearly a year and a half later, I keep re-learning the same lesson:

Life is mostly out of my control but it’s my choice to show up with grace, faith, and a sense of humor.

Mexico with Mary

I’ve been so honored to have the love and joy of Mary Haberski in my life. I met her as a student in one of my Naam Yoga classes years ago and quickly realized she was a shining star. She started being my go-to sub for classes, then my main model for YogaVibes videos, eventually hosting her as a teacher at my studio.

Being around Mary is a total blessing. Her humor, wisdom and excitement for life are contagious. I feel so blessed to call her a friend.

In a week, Mary will be leading a yoga adventure retreat in Mexico (no experience required)! She still has a few spaces left for anyone feeling spontaneous and inspired to live life to the fullest.

Here’s a little more about Mary:

What attracted you to yoga?

What attracted me to yoga, during the VHS era, was that it made me calm yet energized at the same time. I was highly stressed working full time as a retail manager and going to college full time as a student. Yoga helped to center me and calm my anxiety, and it still does today!

Why do you teach yoga?

I have dedicated my life to teaching yoga because it miraculously changed me emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I remember the moment I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It took me a while to build the confidence and courage to take the leap, but I am so thankful I did! Now it is my pure pleasure to be of service to people of all ages and body types, offering this life altering practice all around the world!

What’s your teaching style?

My style of teaching are vinyasa, hatha, yin and restorative and my classes include lots of yummy massage, hands on adjustments, essential oils, meditation, and is rooted in spirituality. I ensure to make it accessible for everyone! What I hear most is that my message and love is deeply felt by my students.

What are you most excited about right now?

 Right now I am most excited about my transformational yoga retreat in Mexico! This will not just be a typical yoga retreat in a beautiful setting, it is a journey for the mind, body and spirit. You will be amazed with the realizations that will occur, how quickly your body positively responds to healthy foods, the yoga asana practice, and meditation. You will be also breaking though thought patterns that cause limitations in your life, blocking you from you true potential. No previous experience in yoga is needed, if you are new to the practice, we can’t think of a better place to start. If you’re a seasoned yogi, it’s time to get deeper into your practice.

For more info about Mary’s retreat, CLICK HERE

Women’s Circles on Fridays in March

When women gather, healing happens.

In March, I’m hosting a women’s circle every Friday.

Share from your heart in a sacred circle of sisters, mothers, daughters, and babies before breathing together with intention. All ages and stages of womanhood welcome.

What the experience is like:

  • Gather, enjoy tea.
  • Circle introductions
  • Sharing on a topic
  • Conscious breathing
  • Intentional closure
  • Go back out into the world with extra inspiration.

By donation.

If money is an issue, feel free to bring any the following:

  • flowers
  • candles
  • matches
  • crystals
  • house plants
  • tea
  • chocolate
  • essential oils
  • nuts & fruit to share


What women have said about circles…

“The women’s circle is a beautiful thing. It’s a safe space where we can all share the good and the scary without judgement. We laugh, we cry, we feel empowered and supported by these strong souls, and ready to take on anything.” – Ginger P.

“What a beautiful reminder that we’re not in it alone. A guaranteed highlight to any week.” – Tonya G.

“The women’s circle was full of warmth, acceptance and kindness. It was a calm place to let down my guard and connect with others.” – Kalani K.

What women have said about Gigi…

“Brigitte is a powerful and necessary voice of inclusion, positivity and love in today’s world. She evenly holds space for all points of view and with her quiet strength, she propels the yoga world forward.” – Jocelyn S.

“Gigi’s classes are very soulful and caring. She really invests her heart into her teaching and as a student you feel that. I always walk away from her classes feeling more in touch and accepting of myself.” – Angela R.


Gigi Yogini Studio
12115 W. Ohio Ave.

West Los Angeles 90025

VISIT www.GIGIYOGINI.com

SUPPORT: The Africa Yoga Project

Support the Africa Yoga Project by donating any amount HERE.

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It was the summer before I left to go to boarding school. I was about to be a new Junior at a High School where I only knew one person but luckily I met a girl, Chelsea McNabb, at a backyard party of a family friend. She was going to be in my class and we became quick friends.

Little did I know, she was going to be one of my best friends for the next 15+ years.

One thing that I loved about Chelsea was the fact that she worked on a ranch in Kenya over the summer with her family who lived there. She told me all about it and we promised that one day we’d go to Kenya together.

After graduating from separate colleges in 2004, we finally embarked on 3 weeks in Kenya and South Africa with our moms. It was an adventure that I will always remember.

Since then, Chelsea has continued visit to Kenya to work and support the community. Her trips started getting longer and longer until she decided to move there in 2012. Now she is training with the Africa Yoga Project and raising money for their awesome organization.

Please help Chelsea exceed her fundraising goal by donating any amount HERE.

Chelsea’s courage and commitment has always inspired me. Please show your support by donating or sharing. Any amount helps.

Namaste. Asante.

Africa Yoga Project Mission

Africa Yoga Project educates, empowers, elevates and employs youth from Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Our vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities.